The Paradoxical Commandments
1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
10. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© 1968, Kent M. Keith www.kentmkeith.com
“The Paradoxical Commandments” were written by Kent M. Keith in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders.
There’s another version of this which is widely attributed to Mother Theresa, but much of the second half of Kent Keith’s Paradoxical Commandments have been re-written in a more spiritual way.
“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
As a coach, I see my job as one of assisting others to remove the obstacles to their progress. At the same time, I’m continually working on removing the obstacles to my own progress, of course! I hold the fundamental belief that at our core we all have what it takes to get to where we want to go. So, what gets in the way? There can numerous beliefs, conditioned and unconscious behaviours, there can be plenty of practical and logistical elements to our lives that are crying out for change. One persistently recurring obstacle that I’ve noticed is this: our unwillingness at times to give without knowing what the outcomes might be. So, our giving, to ourselves or to others, turns out to be conditional. This can stifle our inspiration, motivation and creativity.
Crises, global, national and personal, can prompt us to review the way we’re living our lives. What if we do the review anyway? What do we discover? In my experience, most people will come to re-visit their values and to weigh up how they are actually spending their time against how they would like things to be.
Being value and vision led seems to be most important (as opposed to Jumping Through Other People’s Hoops, for example). We notice that when we value the planet we live on, we will not want to exploit it, regardless of climate change or peak oil. When we value our families and our wellbeing, we will not want to neglect them, regardless of whether we are being threatened with serious illness or relationship breakdown. When we value meaningful work, we will not settle for less for ourselves or our colleagues, regardless of whether we are facing redundancy or business failure. When we value our truth, we will continue to unveil it and live by it, regardless of whether it looks pretty at the time.
This is the “Anyway Principle”. It’s a way of living in alignment with our values and even changing our values as we grow and develop. It’s a way of removing one of the major blocks to our progress, whatever or wherever we’re aiming for. Using the Anyway Principle in our personal lives can lead to improved physical and mental health and wellbeing, relationships and personal happiness.
In our business lives, the Anyway Principle can help us become clear on our business purpose, inspiring and motivating us and the others we work with and improving our chances of business success.
It’s a very effective way of living and working consciously.